Handwritten Reply
Characters/Pairings: Spike/Buffy
Spoilers: AU post-Damage; minor spoilers for S8
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money made. Please don't sue me.

Author's Note 1: This is a sequel to my story "Handwritten." I would recommend reading it first if you haven't. Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.

AN 2: I stopped reading the S8 comics early on so I don't know if there is a new name for the Watcher's Council and if that name was revealed. So I made a new name up. If the comics do give the organization a name, let me know.

AN 3: HUGE thanks to my awesome beta reader zennjenn! Your comments and thoughts made a huge difference. Thanks for making my story much better. :)

Dawn strolled down the dark hallway of the castle's west wing, the dim light casting an ethereal glow. Even after having lived six months in the new International Council of Slayers & Watchers' European headquarters, she still found the place to be a rather daunting maze.

Coming to the end of the hall, Dawn made her way towards the last door. Behind it was one of the castle's smaller secondary libraries and Buffy's secret hiding place. Few people had figured out that this was where Buffy occasionally snuck off to when she needed to be alone. It amused Dawn to know that Buffy had chosen the room not only because few people knew of its location, but because nobody would think to look for her in a library. The irony, of course, was that Buffy often actually snuck off to read, indulging in her love of poetry and fashion magazines.

Not bothering to knock, Dawn burst into the room and yelled, "Mail call."

Accustomed to Dawn's interruptions, Buffy ignored her and continued to read.

"You know," Dawn started, "I wouldn't have to trudge all the way up here if…"

Before she could finish her thought Buffy interrupted her. "No, Dawn. We're not going to have Willow magic a few owls to use them as mail birds like in Harry Potter."

She didn't even have to lift her head to know Dawn was pouting at having her idea shot down again. Buffy knew Willow would probably be only too willing to do such a thing as she was also in love with all things Harry Potter.

Annoyed, Dawn flung the one letter she had brought at her sister and then left the room in a slight huff. A small grin grew on Buffy's face at Dawn's antics, amused by her sister's frustrated machinations to try and bring at least one or two ideas from the Potter books to life.

Marking her page, Buffy laid the book on the side table and picked up the letter from her lap. It was a plain, white legal-sized envelope that had seen better days. The fact that it had "air mail" stamped across it probably had something to do with the envelope's crinkly and slightly dirty condition. The return address actually listed her address or rather the Council's P.O. Box in London, but at the top there was a L.A. post mark. Seeing that, Buffy held her breath for a moment and wondered if this was what she thought it could be.

Slowly, so as not to tear the contents inside, she carefully slid open the back flap. Pulling out several sheets of yellow legal pad paper, Buffy unfolded them. Smoothing the sheets out, she smiled softly, recognizing the beautiful handwriting. Then she began to read.

Dear Buffy,

I guess a part of me always knew Geek boy probably wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut, but then you never know with Andrew.

Right, so yeah, I'm back. I mean, you know that, of course. Well, I sure as hell never expected to come out of the Hellmouth, let alone in Peaches' Angel's new Hell, Inc. office. There is still a part of me that wonders if being here with Angel isn't actually hell itself.

Buffy couldn't help but laugh at that last line, imagining exactly how well Angel and Spike weren't getting along.

I don't know how much Andrew told you, but here is the abbreviated version. Somehow the amulet ended up back in Angel's hands. Actually, it was sent to him in the mail (and unfortunately that is not the last of our problems with the post office) and when he opened the envelope the amulet fell out and poof! I appeared all ghost-like. Angel's scientist bird Fred had some science mumbo-jumbo about energy, and heat and ectoplasm explaining the specifics, but suffice it to say I was incorporeal and couldn't touch a sodding thing.

The whole ghostie bit lasted about six months. Oh right, I never said when I returned. I'm thinking Andrew definitely didn't tell you this part because there would have been a lot more yelling in your letter. I returned a little less than three weeks after the battle with the First.

Now, pet, before you come flying over here with a fierce need to break my nose, let me remind you I was a ghost. For six months. You got that right? Six months. (Take a deep breath, pet, before you shred my letter and don't have a chance to finish it.)

Buffy then noticed she was on the verge of ripping the letter apart, causing her to laugh at Spike's astute observation and break the tension.

All better now? Good. Where was I? Right, so about mid-December another package arrived at Wolfram & Hart. It was a box addressed to me. Of course with me being non-corporal and all I couldn't open it. So I had Harm do it. (That reminds me, did you know Harmony is Angel's bloody secretary? It's a riot. That girl could barely figure out what she was doing next week and here she is handling Angel's appointments, answering his phone and not doing his typing. Let me tell you it is an entertaining sight. I'm still waiting for the day the Poofter stakes her in a fit of frustration.) So she opened the box and BAM! A bright light explodes. We look in the box and there's nothing. Just an empty box. Now semi-blinded and annoyed, I walked away from Harm's desk to Angel's office and right into his doors. Somehow that box made me solid and I was no longer a damn ghost.

But then things went a little wonky after that. Electric gadgets started going nuts and so did the employees. Actual blood-tears and everything. I had to knock Harm out because she tried to kill me. (Ok, that was kind of fun, I admit.) At this point, I am all ready to get the hell outta there when Eve (she's this other annoying bint who serves as the "liaison" to the Senior Partners. More like bloody annoying liaison to the sorority house, if you ask me. Oh, that reminds me – don't let me forget to tell you about the time she and Angel were ordered to have sex. Bloody hilarious! And don't panic. Trust me when I say there was no potential for any happiness, perfect or otherwise.). So Eve tells us that the world is going to end because of some rot about two vampire champions with souls existing at the same time (apparently my soul didn't count before turning to a burnt crisp in the Hellmouth) because of some prophecy about the vampire with a soul who will…

There was a bunch of blacked out words at this point and Buffy reminded herself to interrogate Spike about it in the future. For the moment she returned to the letter and picked back up where Spike left off.

right, well it doesn't really matter what the prophecy says, but Eve claimed that since there were two ensouled vampire champions the world was coming to an end. After a whole bit about reading the fine print of this prophecy, a Cup of Torment, and my kicking Angel's brooding ass (Before you get all bitch like over this bit of info, let me say two things: one, I'm sorry, Buffy and that's all I am going to say on that; two, that fight was a long time coming between Angel and I, pet, and although I'd never admit it to Peaches, he gave as good as he got. Still, I was better.)

Again, Buffy couldn't help but pause and laugh at Spike's words. She realized he was probably right about it being a long time coming between him and Angel. Most of their baggage occurred long before she met either of them.

Eventually everything got back to normal. Eve claimed the Senior Partners figured out how to fix the situation, at least for the time being. I think they probably knew all along what to do and it was just another attempt to pull Angel's strings and maybe even mine. In the end I can't complain too much. I got my body back and that's what matters to me.

I guess that brings us to now. I'm sure you were wondering why I didn't get in touch with you to let you know I was alive. Or back. You know what I mean. Part of me is surprised I haven't yet had a visit from you and a pop to the nose. If I hadn't received your letter I'd probably think it was because you really didn't care all the much. But I now know that's not true.

Honestly, pet, I don't have a sodding good reason for not contacting you before now except that I was afraid. Yes, I admit it. I was afraid. I went out like a champion, how was I supposed to top that? "Hey, Buffy, guess what? I'm back! Guess that dying like a champion thing didn't stick." And, truthfully, a part of me couldn't take contacting you to find out that you weren't as happy to see me as I was to see you.

Another pause in her reading as Buffy wiped the wetness from her eyes. While she wished he didn't, she knew Spike had had good reasons to feel this way.

Guess I'm still just a bloody fool when it comes to love, huh? But after reading your letter I think you were right. Maybe a part of me also knew that now isn't the right time. I mean, in some ways, your life must certainly have gotten more complicated with all those baby slayers running around. And whatever the reason, here I am in L.A. with Angel. Maybe it all does mean something and if so, I should be probably figure out what.

But I still love you, Buffy. I always will. Because as I told you once, you, Buffy Summers, are one hell of a woman. And it is impossible to stop loving a woman like you.

Maybe our time will come one day, as you said. Until then love, don't ever forget how much I love you or that I am always here for you.

As you said, I'll be seeing you later, Slayer.



Wiping away the remaining tears, Buffy folded up the letter with a smile. She lifted herself out of the wingback, grabbed her book and the letter and headed for the door. She had a reply to write.